African and African-American Studies?

Three news stories about African and African-American Studies departments have emerged over the past week. Oddly, people haven’t tended to put them together. The Chronicle of Higher Education fired Naomi Riley  from their Brainstorms blog for writing a response to an article about African and African-American Studies programs. If ever there were a case for eliminating the discipline, the sidebar explaining some of the dissertations … Continue reading African and African-American Studies?

Various Thoughts

I’ve been very busy getting two papers ready, so I haven’t been posting. But there are some stories to which I want to draw your attention. 1. High gasoline prices are just one obvious way in which President Obama’s environmental and energy policies are bearing their intended and foreseen fruits. I’m delighted that people are remembering his 2008 claim: “Under my plan… electricity rates would … Continue reading Various Thoughts

When is Stealing Unethical? This is a real stumper… At the NYT

I occasionally read The Ethicist column in the NYT.  I think I read the first few because I was fascinated that they just got some guy who seemed a bit more honest than the rest of the people looking for a job at the Times to write the column.  I’m not kidding, but if you ask me to pay money to get the introductory column, … Continue reading When is Stealing Unethical? This is a real stumper… At the NYT

An Ethical Dilemma

A tragic, real-world dilemma (HT: Eugene Volokh): Alton Logan doesn’t understand why two lawyers with proof he didn’t commit murder were legally prevented from helping him. They had their reasons: To save Logan, they would have had to break the cardinal rule of attorney-client privilege to reveal their own client had committed the crime. But Logan had 26 years in prison to try to understand … Continue reading An Ethical Dilemma

Why I Can’t Vote for a Democrat

Today the Democrats of the House and Senate approved restricting CIA interrogation techniques to those outlined in the Army Field Manual. Power Line correctly notes that this means that the Democratic Party simply is not serious about the national security of the United States. Over the last 36 hours, Congressional Democrats have again demonstrated a casual, even frivolous attitude toward their Constitutional duty to assist … Continue reading Why I Can’t Vote for a Democrat

Roger Kimball on Will Smith and Utopianism

Roger Kimball has intriguing reflections on the utopian impulse and the underlying thought, stemming from Rousseau, that one can reshape human nature—all from thinking about Will Smith’s remark, “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today’,” said Will. “I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to … Continue reading Roger Kimball on Will Smith and Utopianism

Prisoners’ Dilemmas

A few days ago I talked about flaccid strategies for iterated prisoners’ dilemmas, noting that strategies without retaliation cannot win. I remarked: Many Western leaders seem committed not only to avoiding retaliation but to responding to defection on an opponent’s part with forgiveness and even more extensive cooperation. [Emphasis added.] That inspires a further thought. Robert Alexrod and others have investigated strategies for iterated prisoners’ … Continue reading Prisoners’ Dilemmas

Game Theory and the Clash of Civilizations

An interesting attempt to apply game theory to the conflict between Islam and the West. Many Western leaders seem committed not only to avoiding retaliation but to responding to defection on an opponent’s part with forgiveness and even more extensive cooperation. Let’s call such a strategy flaccid. Christians with the attitude I spoke of yesterday seem to view flaccidity as ethically required. But the problem … Continue reading Game Theory and the Clash of Civilizations